Ebooks and an anniversary.

I decided the other day to gather up all the ebooks I have and organize them. I use Calibre because it’s pretty much the best, and I’ve used it before, so I know how it works. Unfortunately for me, it can get kind of tedious initially. I don’t have much RAM on my computer (I’d love another 2 gigs or more), so importing them took probably half an hour. Then I realized that I didn’t have blurbs and covers for a lot of the ebooks I have, so I tried to have Calibre automatically get metadata for me. That took a while, but it was helpful; about 75% of my books got metadata. The other 25%, however, I have to do manually, for a variety of reasons including reversed author/title, random titles or authors that weren’t right, and instances where neither the author nor the title were even close to being correct. If correct was the North Pole, these would be hanging out around the equator or possibly in the Southern Hemisphere.

I don’t think I’m even a quarter done with those. I’m going through by author, and I’m currently on “E”. The task is further complicated by the books that got the wrong metadata. It’ll be awesome when I’m done! It’s just that “done” looks like it’s about a week away. I’m so bored that I’m making stupid comments about Lego Marvel Superheroes as Alex plays; not snarky, just dumb. Ben’s “talking” for the characters, though, and Alex is also making silly comments, so I guess it might be genetic.

Yesterday was me and Mar’s 10th anniversary. (That is an awkward sentence to write in a grammatically correct manner. I don’t think I managed it. “Marco and I had our 10th anniversary yesterday.” That’s better.) We didn’t do anything, though; money was tight. He said we’ll go out for steak when he gets paid, so that will be nice.

Just about two weeks until we go to New York City to visit Mar’s family. Lots of planning to do, and packing, and I HAVE to do something about my hair. I got haircolor remover, but I can’t do it myself, so I have to wait until Mar is done with his nap. We both stayed up way later than we should have, so he set his alarm and got up fairly early to get Ben, who had his very first non-family sleepover last night. It went pretty well, except that Ben went magpie and took some Polish coins from one of his friends, so he’s not allowed to use the PS3 or play with his toys until he finds them. It’s the principle of the thing.

Well, off to get metadata for more ebooks and do more laundry. I have the most fun, don’t I? ;P


Still alive!

Just having a weird combination of busy, but not doing much of interest. I am a week late in posting anything about the zoo, though. Here’s some pictures!

A seal swimming upside down.
This seal was playing with her food.

All the seals and/or sea lions. I’m not sure which was which.
A fisher cat. Keon is about this size.

Continue reading Still alive!

The Color Run! And Scrump is back!!

We did The Color Run today. It’s a 5k where they splatter the participants with color, and it’s really fun! The color is dyed corn starch, so I had to wrap my phone in  plastic so it wouldn’t get corn starch in it, and the following pictures are a little blurry because of that.

This was us at the beginning:


And this was us after:


I still have a green tinge. Ben was very very blue, and Alex is also blue even though he didn’t run. He wanted to, but he didn’t sign up in time, but he volunteered and got all the stuff we got (minus the bib) plus two extra shirts. We all had a lot of fun, and everyone agreed that we’re doing it again next year!

According to my FitBit, I walked/ran 7.25 miles before we got home, and I am exhausted. But I’m happy to report that Scrumpy, who’d been missing since Tuesday, is home as of last night. He’s thinner, and limping a bit, but he’s doing ok. He was hiding under a neighbor’s deck, and he spent most of last night sleeping. Sounds good to me right about now!!

ETA: More pictures! Continue reading The Color Run! And Scrump is back!!

We have an Alex!!

Today was an adventure! We left later than we planned to get up to Union Station to get Alex. Ben was out of meds, so he required more supervision, and we had to stop to pick up his meds, which took more time. And nobody had thought to clean out the car so Alex had somewhere to sit that wasn’t a booster seat, so that had to be done.

Once we got on the road, traffic wasn’t too bad until we reached the 22nd Street exit, but we managed to avoid it because we got off on 22nd to get to Canal and ride that all the way down. Ben and I hustled to get to the station while Mar parked the car, but we really didn’t need to rush; Alex’s train was delayed.

I should have expected it, though. Passenger trains have to give way to freight trains, and the closer a train gets to Chicago, the more freight trains there are. So Alex’s train ended up being almost an hour late. Meanwhile, we met up with J and C and their little dude, N, and tried to figure out what we were doing. The initial plan was to have a picnic, but we hadn’t worked out the details, one of which was parking. Fortunately, I have an app called ParkWhiz, which I found because of The Color Run, and I found parking for 3 hours for $6. It was a little out of the way, but not too badly so, and for that price, I was really happy. (I had used the app earlier to get parking for the run, and I got 11 hours for $8. I was impressed.)

Alex arrived, I did the paperwork to get him released because he’s still an unaccompanied minor, and we met up with Mar before he took off. Alex put his luggage in the car, and we decided that Mar would go park, and Ben, Alex, J, C, N and I would take the bus to the Creepy Headless Guys in Grant Park (also referred to as The Legs, but the actual name is Agora). Grant Park is huge, by the way, and is where The Color Run will be on Saturday, although I’m not sure if the route takes us by the Creepy Headless Guys. I have to admit that they’re growing on me, though, and creeping me out less.

We stopped at a store along the way and got some fresh veggie and fruit trays, as well as sandwiches and salads and drinks. We were all starving, so we got a little more than anyone actually ate, but some of the food found its way home with us; I’m currently eating an Asian-type salad between typing.

We got to the CHG (ha, I didn’t notice that that could stand for Chicago as well as Creepy Headless Guys!) and found a nice spot to settle down. As soon as we did, I swear we tore into the food! For a while, there were a few seagulls and some smaller birds, sparrow-like, that were hanging around in hopes of a handout, but I guess they figured out that it wasn’t going to happen, because they eventually wandered off. After Alex and Ben were done eating, they ran around some, including a random “Hi!” as Alex rolled by through the grass, and Ben “forcibly” rolling Alex along.

Eventually, though, it was time to leave, and we had to hustle a bit; ParkWhiz gives people a little leeway as far as getting in or out, but we didn’t want to push it. We managed to grab a bus after a bit of walking. It was very crowded, and there was an older black man who made an amusing comment to Mar that implied that Mar looks like Jesus. At least, that’s how Mar explained it to me; he was speaking very symbolically, and I have trouble interpreting things like that.

We got to the car and drove home, which included the usual pre-Rush Hour traffic and some heart-stopping stupidity, including a semi truck cutting us off, but we ended up home, yay! The neighborhood kids were very excited to meet Alex, and they offered to go with us door to door to look for Scrumpy, who escaped two days ago, after they get back from the grocery store. I figure that when it started raining, Scrumpy ran for the nearest shelter, and someone let him in but now has no idea where he lives, because we stupidly didn’t put a tag on him. It’s obvious that he’s well-cared-for, because he’s not skinny or mangy-looking, and he has a harness and claw caps on. I don’t think he had a run-in with a vehicle, because he’s smart enough to run from them, and I know that if he was at liberty to roam around, he’d find his way back, because he’s done so before. I’ve also told all our nice neighbors that he’s missing so they can keep an eye out for him, and nobody’s seen him, which also points to Scrumpy being in someone’s house. My clever plan is for us to walk around the neighborhood and have the kids go up and ring doorbells and knock on doors with a picture of Scrumpy that I printed out. Nobody can resist a kid looking for their lost pet; if it was me doing it, I figure I’d get weird looks and less help. Scrump is a friendly, sweet cat, so I really hope that we don’t have someone who wants to keep him and gives us a problem because of that.

As of right now, though, the boys are upstairs playing quietly (shockingly!) and Mar’s talking swords and martial arts with one of his friends on Skype. Things are pretty cool here.

Almost Human Again.

I’m feeling almost human again, which is a really good thing, because I have a lot I have to do.

Today we’re going to straighten out my financial aid so I can maybe take a class this summer and definitely start in the fall. Then we’re going to stop at Target to get white shirts and sneakers for Mar because we have the Color Run on Saturday. Hopefully we’ll still have enough money to get hair color remover, because I want to change the color of my hair, but if not, I’ll live until we do have the money. Oh, and I want to get a bandanna for me and one for Ben so we don’t breathe in the powder at the Color Run. Honestly, I don’t know how much I’ll be running; I’m still finding it difficult to breathe sometimes. But it should be fun anyway.

On The Mend

I’m finally starting to feel better, which is a nice change. Breathing is a bit easier, and my throat and ears don’t hurt so much, although I have developed a bit of a cough.

Mostly what I did for the past few days was read and sleep. I found the ebook part of my local library’s website, and I rediscovered a series that I’d enjoyed before, only now there are more books in it. It’s a murder-mystery series by Alan Bradley. The main character is Flavia DeLuce, and she’s bold and smart and very interested in poisons. She is highly entertaining and has her own chemistry lab, and she’s 11. I read everything that’s out so far, and I can’t wait for the next one… except I’ll have to, because it’s not due out until January ’15.

Mar just discovered the Faerie’s Air and Death Waltz.



He also found a YouTube video of people crazy enough to try to play it. Go to about 3:00.

I was in band for 6 years, so I can kind of read that. It scares me a little.

P.S. I don’t remember if I mentioned, but Ben’s teeth are out and he’s fine. The permanent tooth that was behind them looks like it might be moving forward, but teeth move at such a glacial pace that I can’t be entirely sure.

P.P.S. I also received my Bandelettes in the mail yesterday, and so far I’m impressed. I think I might have ordered them a touch too big, but I could be wrong. They’re comfortable and they haven’t fallen down, and I think they’ll work out great. Excited to feel well enough to try them out.

Sick, again??

Yep, this is something like the fifth or sixth time I’ve been sick this year. I don’t know why, because I usually have a pretty good immune system, but this year it seems to be on vacation.

I went to the doctor this morning. They’re having some very serious computer issues, so I couldn’t get an appointment, but I could walk in, so I did. It went fairly fast, which was nice, because I didn’t sleep much last night, and I walked out with a prescription for a Z-pak. I love those things. It’s 5 days worth of azithromycin, two on the first day, then one for the four days after that. And they’re not terribly expensive, which was nice.

I needed something to drink, so we stopped at Wendy’s. They have “homemade” lemonade, which I didn’t know about, and which apparently contains real lemons. I got that and a Frosty, because my throat still hurts like crazy, and when I got home, I had a slice of leftover pizza, half the lemonade, and my Frosty, then went back to bed. I slept pretty well, but I was woken up by the pain again in the afternoon.

I hope the antibiotics kick in soon. I’ve been taking generic Aleve to help with the pain, but it doesn’t do much. Ben has physical therapy tonight, so we’re looking at Wendy’s again, since chili and a Frosty sound really good to me. We got a keytag for $2 that means we get a free junior Frosty with every order, and that seems to help calm down my throat and ears, so it’s a win-win. At this point, I’m waiting for UPS to show up with my Amazon order, then the food, and as soon as I eat and get Ben to bed, I’m planning to crash again. Whether this actually happens remains to be seen, however…. my plans have a way of going awry all too often.

Amazon.com : Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz : Grocery & Gourmet Food

Amazon.com : Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz : Grocery & Gourmet Food.

This is really goofy. The reviews are hilarious. I admit I clicked on it in the first place out of curiosity, because it doesn’t seem like Amazon would be able to deliver milk without it going bad (unless it was in aseptic packs, which I do see that they have). I don’t have to worry, though… some intrepid souls even guarantee hand-delivery in the “seller” options.

If you’re bored and amused by human inventiveness, give these reviews and questions a look.

I’m tired.

I’m not sure why I’m so tired, except that there is a lot going on at home. Ben got sent home from school yesterday because he wasn’t controlling himself, so we picked him up and ran errands. We took him to the running store, and he was awful,arguing over everything and wandering around and touching everything. We didn’t end up spending $70 on shoes, because that’s ridiculous for kids’ shoes. For adult running shoes, it’s a little different, because they’re going to be used correctly and the runner won’t outgrow them.

We got bedding for Alex, who will be here a week from Thursday, if all goes well. That was a good thing, especially since it wasn’t too expensive. It’s purple, but the choice was between that and pink. I think he’ll be happy that we also got some laser tag kits on clearance.

When we got home from all of our running around, I noticed that my left ear felt weird, inside my head. It’s still feeling weird, dry and painful, but less so now that I’ve drunk half a gallon of iced tea. I’m hoping it’s just allergies and it’ll go away, because I didn’t sleep well with the pain.

Nothing profound going on here, just life. The weather’s been nice, but temperatures have bounced around over a 40 degree range, so my joints are unhappy and letting me know it.

An Assortment of Things.

This post is kind of random, so it’ll be all over the place.

Ben got his teeth taken out.

My gap-toothed, curly-headed boy.

Ben’s new smile

He said it didn’t hurt, and he was so very relaxed afterward. Nitrous is wonderful. If you care to, you can see his “big” tooth behind the vacated spots, off to the right. I’m personally kind of squeamish about teeth, as I’ve discussed before, so this is the most I’ve looked at the whole thing. I guess I’m ok as long as it’s on a screen.

He got to take his teeth home, and the dentist’s office even had a little holder for the teeth, and packaged that up with some gauze if he needs or wants it. I haven’t been brave enough to look at the actual teeth yet, and I probably won’t for a while.

He was so cute as we were driving. He asked, “Mom, do you know what the Tooth Fairy looks like?” I told him I didn’t, since I’d never seen her, just talked to her on the phone. “Oh. When you see her, will you ask her where she lives?” He comes up with the most interesting questions!

I dislocated my thumb last night, so I’m wearing a brace, which makes typing a challenge. It’s a very frustrating thing; I can shoot a shotgun without dislocating my shoulder, but sleeping will do it. I dislocated my thumb from the extended pressure of holding my tablet. Mar said when he gets paid, I can get this tablet cover:

It has a strap to make holding the tablet easier. I love my tablet, but its big drawback is that it’s fairly heavy, at almost a pound. I tried to make my own cover, but I got something wrong and it doesn’t hold my tablet in. I’ll probably revise it and figure out the details at some point, though. My current project is making myself a new bag. I can’t find one that fits all my specifications, like “big enough to carry my tablet” and “with a long enough strap that it falls comfortably by my hip”. (I  have a long torso, not that anyone could tell with all the padding.) The best part is that I have all the supplies; J gave me a bunch of fabric remnants she’d picked up, and there are two big pieces I’m going to use for the inside and the outside, and two long pieces I’m going to use for the strap. I do wish I had some way to make the strap adjustable, but I don’t, so I’ll make do.

Ben is hungry, so I’m going to go make veggie mac’n’cheese with crushed meatballs. The meatballs are done already, and they smell great! Aldi’s is a great place to shop.